Safety in Numbers

Posted on January 12, 2016 by Andy Thorpe under People
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051 Marching Police

The connection, albeit a bit tenuous, is “red”.  Clearly the A-board on the left would not have made it into the “red-fest” of the last posting, but it’s a connection all the same.  Also, since this is the penultimate posting in my photo-connection series, it’s an essential step along the way to making sure that the last photo in the series doesn’t leave things open-ended.  Most of the time the series has been fairly random; with each connection only being considered after the previous posting (if you see what I mean), but hopefully the more planned approach will be deemed acceptable.

The photo is from September 2010 during the Pope’s visit to Birmingham, which demanded a large police presence along the A456 Hagley Road as it was the route chosen for his journey into the city centre.  Crowd barriers were placed along the road for a couple of miles and a police officer positioned every 25m or so…although not much in the way of crowds turned up to get a glimpse of the pontiff along most of the route.  This was probably just as well because his limo just flashed by.  It must’ve been like waiting for the Tour de France and then seeing it go by in an instant, although at least with a bike race the peloton could be stretched out over a few hundred metres.  Anyway, soon after the “event” the police officers marched back to their minibuses in groups, as seen here.  It’s unusual to see police in such organised groups and it’s good to see that the security requirements implied by their numbers weren’t called upon.

Other photos I have where the police are acting in a helpful capacity, rather than in a confrontational capacity or having to enforce the law etc, are shown below.  Apologies if they’re not very, ahem, arresting.  The first photo sort of connects with the one above in that it was taken in the Vatican.  It’s a small country where clearly only small police cars are required!

051c Asking for Directions

Amsterdam has a number of police who get around on bikes.  I like to think the car driver is being given directions that are quite convoluted due to the various one-way streets and areas where motor vehicles aren’t allowed; where a bicycle would be a more convenient form of transport, hence the reason why the police use bikes.  The policeman might even be explaining this by showing his bike to the car driver.  In the UK, a policeman (or anyone) extolling the virtues of cycling might as well be speaking the language probably being used in the conversation shown below (perhaps doubly so).  Sorry, we’re moving yet again towards my “broken record” sounding desire for a better organised transport system based on walking, cycling and access restrictions to cities by motor vehicle.  Better air quality, fitter people and a more relaxed environment would be the spin-offs.

051d Asking for Directions 2

Although I’m trying to portray police being helpful, I think in the scene below they were a little bemused as to what to do with the injured pigeon being held by the lady.  The fact that the (Italian) police haven’t taken it from her suggests that they’re trying to remember the name of the local veterinary surgery so that they can direct her towards it!  The policeman in the background appears to have realised that the storage area under the seat of his scooter is already occupied by something and he is therefore unable to take the pigeon to the vet.

051e What shall we do

The Italian police below in Florence appear to be discussing how best to blend in with the local environment in order to carry out some covert duties.

051f What shall we do 2

Help is being offered below to someone who has found an unusual place to rest. He wasn’t necessarily being moved along for his choice of resting place because he seemed to have some head injuries, so the police officers are offering to get medical help for him.  When I came across this scene, the man was on his own and I wondered if anyone else had noticed or if help was on the way because no other passers-by stopped to ask if he needed help (I have photos showing people just walking past).  I got fairly close to him before someone in the doorway of the shop told me that police were on the way to help.

051a Shop Assistance

The last photo, shown below, is from the Harborne street carnival. The police are simply a presence to assist anyone who might want to ask for directions etc…or perhaps to report pick-pocketing!

051b Street Carnival

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